By Nick Peralta
Riverside City College’s men basketball team has managed a successful run during the winter break.
Over the course of the winter break and semester, RCC has managed to improve their record to 15-8, going 10-3 since Dec. 15 at the end of the fall semester.
“We had a slow start at the beginning of the season,” starting guard Rico Tate said. “We’ve picked it up together and now we’re trying to make a run in our conference.”
Currently riding a four-game winning streak, the Tigers are presently ranked fourth in the Orange Empire Conference with a 4-3 conference record. Leading the conference is Fullerton College and Saddleback College, both with a 6-1 divisional record.
At the helm of RCC’s offensive battalion is sophomore point guard CJ Clark who, since the winter semester began and ended, has scored 202 points across 13 games, giving him an average of 16 points per game. Overall, Clark has 359 points this season, leading the team in total points scored. Clark also leads the team in free-throws scored with 78 points total.
“I’ve done decent, but I feel like my teammates have put me in a good position,” Clark said. “Before this season I wasn’t doing as much so I have to thank my teammates.”
Alongside Clark on offense is fellow sophomore guard Otto Taylor who currently has 250 total points scored this season, third on the team only behind Clark and freshman Tyree Winborn. Taylor also leads the team, not only in three-point shots made, but also leads with the highest three-point scoring rate at 43.1 percent.
Winborn, a freshman guard out of Van Nuys, currently has 262 points overall which is the second most on the team.
On the defensive side of the ball this season, sophomore forward Frankie McQuay has impressed with 48 rebounds, the most of any player on the team, 13 steals along with 12 assists. Also contributing to the defense is sophomore guard Rico Tate. Tate leads the team in steals with 14 total as well as defensive rebounds with 26.
“We’ve learned how to talk and communicate,” Clark said. “That’s a big part of our team’s success so far. Good things are going to happen in the future.”
The Tigers only have a handful of games left to play this season with the California Community College Athletic Association postseason beginning at the end of February. Should the Tigers continue to build on the momentum that they currently hold, the team could find themselves participating in the Southern California Regionals which begin Feb. 27.
The Tigers next face divisional rivals Irvine Valley College in an important away game Feb. 12 that could help elevate the team further up the OEC rankings.
“We’re trying to win all five of these games,” Clark said. “We’re on a five game win streak, and we’re going to play two teams that we lost to. We gotta get our revenge on them. I feel like we can beat any team. We just gotta stay confident going into the playoffs. We can match up with any team and do well. I’m trying to win.”